Kids in Focus (KIF), a local nonprofit providing photography mentoring programs to at-risk kids, is hosting its 8th annual Exhibit Opening Reception 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. on Thursday, April 9, at the Tempe Center for the Arts. This free public event features 84 photographs created by 42 at-risk kids and is the culmination of a 9-week mentoring program that takes the kids on a journey of self-discovery. In addition to viewing the kids’ photographs, guests will have the opportunity to meet the young photographers and their mentors while enjoying live music and complimentary food.
For the 2020 installment, KIF worked with students from Children First Leadership Academy, the Thunderbirds Branch of the Boys and Girls Clubs in Guadalupe, and the Sequoia Deaf School. Using the camera as a tool and spending one-on-one time with professional photographer mentors, the kids created compelling photographs, wrote their biographies, built relationships, and gained self-confidence and trust in themselves and others.
“It’s hard for me to express the significance of this evening for the kids who have participated in our program,” says Karen Shell, Kids in Focus executive director. “It’s very common at the start of the program that these kids have a hard time even making eye contact with others because they’re so lacking in self-confidence. On this night, it’s like they are the stars on the red carpet. Watching them showcase their art to a crowd of supporters fills them with a sense of pride many of them have never experienced. It is magic. I always say the more attendees, the better. I encourage everyone to come experience the beauty of this event.”
After the reception, the photographs will remain on display in the lobby of the Tempe Center for the Arts through Saturday, April 11. Then the exhibit will move to the Scottsdale Civic Center Library, 3839 N. Drinkwater Boulevard, and be on display from April 13 through May 31. For more information and to reserve your free ticket, please visit www.kidsinfocus.org.
About Kids in Focus: Kids in Focus (KIF) is a Phoenix based 501(c)3 organization that inspires hope and fosters positive outcomes in children starting at age 10 who come from backgrounds of abuse, neglect, poverty, and/or homelessness. Through the restorative power of photography and with the guidance of dedicated mentors, the kids are inspired to open their eyes to their own potential and self-worth. Since 2012, Kids in Focus has been making an extraordinary impact on resilience in the lives of vulnerable kids. Each program culminates with public exhibits and free opening night celebrations bringing awareness and inspiration to people throughout the Valley. Venues include the Arizona Science Center, Biltmore Fashion Park, Children’s Museum of Phoenix, Scottsdale Civic Center Library, Scottsdale Fashion Square, Sky Harbor Airport, the State Capitol, as well as various restaurants, hotels, and coffee shops.